In his first ever New York show, artist Banksy invites the public to view a series of exhibits that, like his world famous hit-and-run graffiti art, question the hypocrisy of urban life. "I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming, but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing," says the artist.
His new installation, "The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill" features a surreal store that "concentrates on the contradictory ways in which people see and use animals as food, pets, exotic beasts, and clothing." Outside the shop's doors sits a kiddie-ride dolphin ensnared in a fisherman's net. Inside, chicken nuggets graze in dipping tubs of barbeque sauce, a sliced-up kielbasa sunbathes in a reptile tank, and a morose chimp "vegges out" in front of the nature channel. The fake animals and food are mechanically animated, making for a pitiful comedy as glossy hot dogs writhe around like newborn piglets.
The artist makes clear that when it comes to the relationship between humans and animals, our role is often marked by the need to humiliate and commodify the animals that share our world.
The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill is located at 89 7th Avenue between West 4th and Bleeker Street in the West Village of New York City, and is open daily from 10 am to midnight.
Creative Commons Image by tofer618 and Tracy Lee on Flickr